Background: Retardation and agitation are symptoms of major depressive disorder (MDD), and their presence could play a role in determining clinically meaningful depressive subtypes such as nonmelancholic depression (NMD) and melancholic depression (MD). In this project, we explored whether three depression subgroups (NMD, MD with psychotic symptoms, and MD without psychotic symptoms) could be distinguished based on objective measures of psychomotor functioning. Methods: Sixty-nine patients with MDD underwent extensive clinical and psychomotor testing prior to treatment with electroconvulsive therapy. Psychomotor functioning was assessed subjectively using the Core Assessment of Psychomotor Change (CORE) and objectively by means of both 24-h actigraphy and performance on a fine motor drawing task. Results: The daytime activity levels measured by actigraphy were significantly lower (F = 7.1, p = 0.0004) in MD patients both with and without psychotic symptoms than in those with NMD. No objective psychomotor variable was able to distinguish between melancholic patients with and those without psychotic symptoms. Conclusions: The depression subtypes NMD, MD with psychotic symptoms, and MD without psychotic symptoms are not marked by increasing psychomotor retardation, possibly because psychomotor disturbance in MD with psychotic symptoms often consists of agitation rather than retardation, or a mixture of the two. However, psychomotor functioning as measured by actigraphy can be used to distinguish between NMD patients and MD patients.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Agitation, Major depressive disorder, Psychomotor functioning, Retardation
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1159/000490072, hdl.handle.net/1765/109393
Journal Neuropsychobiology
Citation
van Diermen, L. (Linda), Schrijvers, D. (Didier), Cools, O. (Olivia), Birkenhäger, T.K, Fransen, E, & Sabbe, B.G.C. (Bernard G.C.). (2018). Distinguishing Subgroups Based on Psychomotor Functioning among Patients with Major Depressive Disorder. Neuropsychobiology, 1–10. doi:10.1159/000490072